I was reading this paper on how attractive websites do better with users than usable websites:
Well, that article refers to an extreme example, but this is something that has been difficult for me to comes to terms with, geek that I am, but it is really hard to overestimate the value of appearance when an average person makes a decision about something.
From presidents to cars to websites and … yes… to high end audio gear.
I would say the list of important criteria looks something like:
price - what is this going to cost me relative to the other choices?
convenience - how much work must I do for one choice versus another?
appearance - how attractive is one versus the others
competency - how well does one perform relative to the others.
With this list I think one can explain why MS Windows beat out Apple, why the ipod and iphone beat out their competitors, why Facebook beat out WAY better designed competitors… and why some products in our industry actually sell a few units, no matter how competent they are vis-a-vis their competition - and why some others don’t do as well.
I don’t really have any specific products in mind. We can all think of wonderful looking amps and racks and speakers that seem to be doing OK in this over-crowded marketplace - and perhaps their very attractiveness is the reason why.
I do think it is something ALL manufacturers here should pay attention to - though I feel few actually do. They feel as I do, of course, that competent products should rise to the top.